Volume 441 Issue 7092, 25 May 2006



  • Editorial |

    Biologists should push forward with an effort that began in California last weekend to wrestle with the implications of synthetic biology.

  • Editorial |

    A more detailed understanding of scientific concepts does not lead to simplicity.

  • Editorial |

    The European Union's greenhouse-gas trading system needs reinforcement.

Research Highlights


News in Brief

News Feature

  • News Feature |

    The idea of genes as beads on a DNA string is fast fading. Protein-coding sequences have no clear beginning or end and RNA is a key part of the information package, reports Helen Pearson.

    • Helen Pearson
  • News Feature |

    The Sun occasionally hurls streams of particles towards Earth, where they can wreak havoc with satellites. Predicting these solar storms is hard, but some physicists believe we're about to face the biggest bout of solar flares in years. Stuart Clark reports.

    • Stuart Clark


  • Business |

    Searing volatility has led some to dismiss Europe's nascent emissions market as a farce — but it is still hanging in there. Quirin Schiermeier reports on the project's teething troubles.


Books & Arts

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    For richer, for poorer — the countries of the Americas and those of the Caribbean present stark contrasts in fortune. An explanation of those contrasts invokes branching chains of cause and effect.

    • Shaun Miller
    •  & Jared Diamond
  • News & Views |

    A curious genetic phenomenon allows certain genetic instructions to be passed between generations without the gene variants involved being transmitted. Some spotty mice provide clues to how this might happen.

    • Paul D. Soloway
  • News & Views |

    Treated the right way, carbon nanotubes can be moulded into large, flexible electron-emitting sheets. The material is one half of what's needed for an electronic display you could fold up and slip in your pocket.

    • László Forró
  • News & Views |

    Natural killer cells are versatile white blood cells that act in the innate immune system. Quite how adaptable they can be in the absence of other, more specialized, immune cells comes as a surprise.

    • Peter Parham
  • News & Views |

    Chondrules, the stony, seed-like grains in meteorites, were formed when some event melted rock in the solar nebula. The latest analyses narrow the possible ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of that process.

    • Steve Desch
  • News & Views |

    A fresh look at an established model in ecology has generated insights into how species coexist with each other. But it has also raised a vexed question: what constitutes the ecological identity of species?

    • Sean Nee
    •  & Nick Colegrave
  • News & Views |

    The ability of stem cells to continuously supply vast numbers of cells is magnificent, but it can be devastating if it runs amok, as in some tumours. So what makes a normal stem cell turn bad, and can it be redeemed?

    • Viktor Janzen
    •  & David T. Scadden

Brief Communication

  • Brief Communication |

    These gregarious animals shun lobsters that carry a lethal virus, even when they still seem to be healthy.

    • Donald C. Behringer
    • , Mark J. Butler
    •  & Jeffrey D. Shields



  • Futures |

    Step into another world.

    • Scarlett Thomas



  • Article |

    γ-ray bursts are more concentrated in the very brightest regions of their host galaxies than are supernovae — in addition, the host galaxies of the γ-ray bursts are significantly fainter and more irregular than the hosts of the supernovae.

    • A. S. Fruchter
    • , A. J. Levan
    • , L. Strolger
    • , P. M. Vreeswijk
    • , S. E. Thorsett
    • , D. Bersier
    • , I. Burud
    • , J. M. Castro Cerón
    • , A. J. Castro-Tirado
    • , C. Conselice
    • , T. Dahlen
    • , H. C. Ferguson
    • , J. P. U. Fynbo
    • , P. M. Garnavich
    • , R. A. Gibbons
    • , J. Gorosabel
    • , T. R. Gull
    • , J. Hjorth
    • , S. T. Holland
    • , C. Kouveliotou
    • , Z. Levay
    • , M. Livio
    • , M. R. Metzger
    • , P. E. Nugent
    • , L. Petro
    • , E. Pian
    • , J. E. Rhoads
    • , A. G. Riess
    • , K. C. Sahu
    • , A. Smette
    • , N. R. Tanvir
    • , R. A. M. J. Wijers
    •  & S. E. Woosley

Review Article

Brief Communications Arising


Special Report

  • Special Report |

    Use of animals for testing early in the drug-development process aims to provide vital information to make new drugs safe and effective — and the process is being constantly refined. Hannah Hoag finds out what is involved.

    • Hannah Hoag


Scientists and Societies

Graduate Journal

  • Graduate Journal |

    The shifting passage of time in graduate school.

    • Milan de Vries


  • Insight |

    Signalling in cancer

    Thirty years of oncogene research have provided fascinating Insights into the molecular basis of cancer. Many hurdles remain in the race to beat cancer, but as the articles in this Insight show, a growing understanding of the complex signalling pathways that underlie tumour formation and progression is driving the development of a new generation of anticancer drugs targeted at specific molecular events.

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